Hand Torn Invitations

by Amanda Gaddis
Torn paper designs add an artistic flare to invitations.

Torn paper designs add an artistic flare to invitations.

Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

If you want an eye-catching, artistic invitation for your next event, torn paper designs can make your invitations one of a kind. There are many ways to incorporate hand torn paper into your invitations. With a little creativity, your handmade invitations will become not only a way to get the word out about your special event, but pieces of paper art that guests can save.

Paper Grain

Before you begin making hand torn invitations, it's important to know a bit about paper. Just like wood and fabric, paper has a grain, or a direction in which most of the fibers lie. You will find that it is easier to tear or fold paper along the grain rather than against it. After choosing your paper for your invitations, experiment by tearing the paper in both directions. Once you find the grain, you can fold and tear along the grain to create a smoother torn edge.

Torn Edges

Perhaps the most common form of torn paper invitation is an invitation that is folded in half with the edge of the front torn straight across. Torn edges on paper are called deckled edges, and you can create a deckled edge by laying a straight edge along the cut edge of the paper and then carefully tearing across. You can also find a special ruler called a deckling ruler that has a sharpened, wavy edge that helps make this hand-torn look to the edge of paper. To use a deckling ruler, lay it flat along the edge of the paper and tear by pulling the paper up against the sharp edge. If you don't have a deckling ruler, you can also cut a wave edge into a piece of cardboard and use it the same way.

Torn Shapes

Once you are comfortable making a deckled edge, you can tear shapes like rectangles, squares, triangles or circles out of paper and paste them onto invitations. For more complex shapes like hearts or circles, it is best to trace the shape in pencil on the paper before tearing. To make tearing easier, you can also moisten the paper to loosen fibers before tearing. Wet a cotton swab with water and run it along the edge of your shape. Allow the water to soak into the paper, and then slowly tear along the wet edge.

Specialty Papers

The type of paper you use for your torn designs or edges will also determine the finished look of your torn paper invitation. Thin papers like tissue paper or vellum will tear more easily, and thicker card stock will be harder to tear. Smooth paper will have less visible fibers along the torn edge than paper with a high fiber content. Certain specialty papers like Japanese papers are made with clusters of fibers that create a lacy look. You can tear the fiber clusters from these papers to make cloud or flower shapes.

Layering Torn Paper

Torn paper looks best when layered so that you can see the organic torn edges. You can layer strips of torn paper to create a striped design or layer shapes to make flower designs. One great idea for torn paper invitations is to print out your text and tear the text out in a long strip. Layer various colors and textures of paper, and then lay the torn text layer on the top.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images